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|Ashes to Asheville|
Author: Dooley, Sarah
Twelve-year-old Fella is swept away on a wild road trip by her older sister Zany to fulfill their late mother's dying wish.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 4.90
Points: 7.0 Quiz: 188389
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 6-8
Reading Level: 5.30
Points: 13.0 Quiz: 70627
Kirkus Reviews (02/15/17)
School Library Journal (+) (00/02/17)
Booklist (+) (03/15/17)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (00/03/17)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 02/01/2017 Gr 5–8—Following the death of one of her mothers, Mama Lacy, 12-year-old Fella is ripped from the only other parent she has ever known, Mama Shannon, and her 16-year-old sister, Zoey Grace, aka Zany. Fella is forced to move in with her grandmother Mrs. Madison, who has never approved of the relationship between her daughter, the more serious Mama Lacy, and the free-spirited Mama Shannon. When Zany shows up in the middle of the night, whisking away Fella and Mrs. Madison's stowaway poodle, Haberdashery, they set off on a misadventure of epic proportions. Zany is steadfastly determined that she and Fella return to Asheville, NC, to honor Mama Lacy's dying wish that her ashes be scattered there. In the span of a night, what can go wrong does—the girls lose (and find) the ash-filled urn and accept a ride with a would-be thief, and the dog is hit by a car—but nothing will stop them in their pursuit to tie together the last shreds of their torn-apart family. Many poor decisions are made during the journey, such as taking a ride with a stranger. While searching for the girls, Mama Shannon and Mrs. Madison come to realize they have more in common than they think, and they begin to understand the importance of putting aside their own grief when making family decisions. Dooley makes readers stop and think about what really constitutes a family and whether laws should ultimately define those parameters. VERDICT Poignantly told with verve and a splash of humor, this novel explores sensitive topics with care and belongs in all middle grade collections.—Michele Shaw, Quail Run Elementary School, San Ramon, CA - Copyright 2017 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 03/15/2017 *Starred Review* Five years have elapsed since 12-year-old Fella and her teenage sister, Zany, left Asheville, and now they’re headed back, sneaking out late at night with Mama Lacy’s ashes and racing to get there in time for what would have been her fortieth birthday. They left Asheville for West Virginia to be near family as Mama Lacy battled pancreatic cancer, but after Lacy’s death, Fella’s biological grandmother fought for her in court and won, separating her from Zany and Mama Shannon. Now the two girls are essentially on the lam. A chance meet-up with a stranger who steals Lacy’s ashes turns into an unexpected friendship with Adam, whose own father is on his deathbed—dying of cancer, too. There’s so much unspoken between the two sisters, but particularly painful for Zany is the financial ease that Fella lives in with Mrs. Madison, while she and Mama Shannon struggle to get by. Dooley’s portrait of two sisters still struggling with grief and huge life changes makes for a powerful, absorbing read. As their road trip turns treacherous, readers will anxiously turn the pages, hoping for a happy ending. The court battle for Fella’s custody shows the extent to which state battles over same-sex marriage create fissures in families and have an enduring and tragic impact on the lives of young people. A tender, touching, and timely read. - Copyright 2017 Booklist.